Al Khor Hospital Helping Women Chose Natural Birth after a Previous Cesarean Section
Doha, 5 January, 2020: Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Al Khor Hospital has introduced a new clinic that is helping women who have had a previous cesarean section deliver their next child vaginally - a practice known as vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC.
After having a cesarean, or C-section, many women may want a VBAC for the birth of their next baby because they wish to avoid major surgery, have a religious or personal preference, or have had a negative C-section experience in the past. While a VBAC isn’t medically appropriate for all women, the new clinic at Al Khor Hospital is helping to make it possible for women who have been deemed good candidates. Since the clinic opened, over 60 women have benefitted, with more than 10 successfully having VBACs in September alone.
Mr. Mohammed Al Jusaiman, HMC’s Deputy Chief of the General Hospitals Group and Chief Executive Officer of Al Khor Hospital says the hospital is looking to expand its services to better serve the population within the northern region of the country.
“We are constantly reviewing our existing services and introducing new ones, such as the VBAC clinic, in our quest to offer the best care possible to our patients. This clinic is especially significant because it is serving high-risk pregnant women in need of focused and specialized care,” said Mr. Al Jusaiman.
In some cases, C-sections are medically necessary, even life-saving, but the procedure can come with health risks, such as a higher chance of blood loss, infection, issues with the placenta, longer recovery times, and other risks. The midwife-led VBAC Clinic at Al Khor Hospital was opened last March as part of ongoing efforts to boost antenatal services and improve the support offered to pregnant women. The opening of the clinic is also aligned with the National Health Strategy objective of reducing the rate of cesarean sections (C-sections) performed across hospitals in Qatar.
Ms. Mariama Feika, Director of Nursing and Midwifery – Women and Newborn Services at Al Khor Hospital runs the clinic and says it was developed to empower women to take a more active role in the decision making around the birth of their children.
“There is a lot of misinformation about vaginal birth after C-section and there is a lot of evidence that supports VBAC as an option for women who have previously given birth through a C-section. We are aware that many women might be skeptical about trying a vaginal birth for fear of complications that could arise, such as the rupturing of their C-section scar. However, this is why we offer counseling and education. Although there are risks of complications during VBAC, we are very prepared to handle any emergency that could arise,” added Ms. Feika.
Ms. Feika explains that women who attend the clinic are provided with detailed counseling and education.
She the clinic is midwifery-led because midwives play an important role in helping women achieve normal birth and a positive birth experience.
“We see this clinic as very necessary, offering vital information to women on the risks and benefits of both VBAC and elective repeat cesarean section (ERCS). We provide compassionate care and support during labor and postpartum. The whole aim is to provide normality to the birthing process. The less medical intervention the better, for both mother and child,” says Ms. Feika.